You may recall that the last time I wrote, I had just seen Lord Aragorn, Mr. Frodo, that Gandalf fellow, and their party off from Rivendell, headed south. What I didn't know then was that I would soon be following in their footsteps. Lord Elrond, in fact, asked me to head for an elf camp in the elven ruins there, so I followed the Bruinen south until Eregion's antique towers came into view.
I rode all night and finally arrived just as the dawn was breaking, and so was rewarded with a lovely view of the ruined outpost of Gwingris, where my missions in this green and pleasant — but hazardous! — valley began.
What can I say about Eregion? I don't want to bore you with the ins and outs of every mission I undertook there. This is a wilderness, slowly being reclaimed by the elves and dwarves who once lived here in peace during the high days of Khazad-Dum, long ago. I gather from the various elves I spoke to that Lord Elrond used to live here, before Durin's Bane was — but I digress. But as a wilderness, it is rife with dangerous creatures, and of course orcs, goblins, trolls, and wild men coming up from the south. There are also crebain. Lots and lots of crebain. For all its beautiful holly trees, and echoes of elvish poetry long forgot, Eregion is a hard land, that will temper even the gentlest soul in time. A kind of nameless malice sometimes seems to whisper at you in the night, coming down from Mt. Caradhras, the "Red Horn."
The upper slopes of Caradhras on a nice day. :P
At one point during my travels, I spotted what appeared to be an abandoned watchtower, high up on Hollin Ridge, seemingly inaccessible, and wondered just how it was that anyone ever actually used it! Well, hobbits are not exactly known for their curiosity, but the question kept bothering me, so I determined to find out.
It wasn't easy! Nor was it convenient, to say the least. I can only hope that the elves of antiquity had giant eagles to carry them. Fortunately for me, Paladin here did most of the actual work. I must say the tower did provide an excellent view of Eregion, but for some reason I found myself expecting to fight a giant enemy crab here.
It turns out, there are no crabs to be found in Eregion, unless you count some of those elvish merchants. There are wargs, however, in great number.
Some of these wargs, it turned out, were threatening an old acquaintance of mine, first met in Rivendell! Naturally, I couldn't let that stand — a rescue was undoubtedly in order.
There is also an extremely peculiar variety of levitating strawberry.
My missions finally brought me to the very doorstep of Moria, where an expedition of dwarves recruited my help in their attempts to reclaim their ancestral homeland. Frankly, I'm not much interested in the place, but on the other hand, I can well imagine how I would feel if The Shire was overrun by servants of The Enemy, and so I decided to help out as best I could.
At the gate, I spoke to a quite interesting dwarf by the name of Rathwald, who told me the tale of the fall of Khazad-Dum — and a sad tale it is, too! I must say, he was quite the storyteller. I felt like I was really there!
Our attempts to enter Moria were stymied by a horrific, betentacled creature lurking in the Black Pool. We managed to fight it off, although not without heavy losses. In the end, tho, it retreated to who-knows-where. The Moria expedition leader grandiosely offered me "the honor" of clearing away the last bits of rubble. Honor, my fuzzy toes. They just know how handy I am with a pickaxe and don't want to do it themselves!
The good news is, they're inside and setting up their operations now. For myself, I have work to do in Angmar and Forochel, so I am returning there. The life of a Warden is one of solitude and never-ending toil, it seems. But if that's what will keep The Shire safe, then I shall continue to go where duty takes me.
Your Friend in The Shire,
Honourary Shirriff Maedhroc Thornhollow"